United Kingdom - Work Skills & Ancestry - Hong Kong BNO Visa
The new Hong Kong BNO Visa is a significant change to the UK immigration system and will allow British National (Overseas) citizens (commonly referred to as BNO´s) to apply for two periods of 30 months’ leave or 5 years’ leave. This new immigration route will afford BNO citizens the right to live and work or study in the UK and gives them a path to full British citizenship.
In addition to providing a pathway for BNOs, this route will also enable those children born after 1 July 1997 to a BNO-registered parent to apply to come to the UK. The visa holder will be able to bring any dependent family members (spouse and children under 18).
BNO citizens coming to the UK will have access to the job market at any skill level and without any salary threshold but will not have access to public funds. Those who come to the UK through this route will be able to apply to settle in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) once they have lived in the UK for 5 years. After 12 months with this status, they will then be able to apply for British citizenship.
In order for BNO citizens to take up this offer, they do not need to have a valid Hong Kong BNO passport. They’ll need a valid passport to show proof of identity, but this can be any applicable nationality passport. They can use a valid or expired BNO passport to show proof of their BNO status. However, if they do not have a BNO passport, the Home Office may be able to check their status.
Those born after 1 July 1997 were not eligible to become BNOs having been born after the UK’s handover of Hong Kong. However, this visa is available to them if either one of their parents hold (or held) the BNO status, they are moving to the UK with their BNO parent(s) and they are under 18 or still otherwise dependent on the BNO parent.
The Hong Kong BNO Visa route will open from January 2021. Eligible BNO citizens are able to apply for this route both inside and outside Hong Kong.
For those who wish to travel before the route opens, the UK will ensure that BNO citizens who wish to come to the UK are able to do so, subject to standard immigration checks. A BNO citizen can come to the UK as a visitor for up to six months without a visa, or apply for an existing visa route. Eligible BNO citizens unable to meet the Immigration Rules may be granted Leave Outside the Rules at the border. Eligible BNO citizens will be able to switch to the Hong Kong BNO Visa route from within the UK.
Other solutions involving Hong Kong and the BNO status include the following: